Dec 082006
 

Rachmaninoff

It says in the book of Revelation, “The Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.” The greatest crime and tragedy was ordained even before the foundation of the world, yet through it would unfold the greatest story ever told. It was all intelligently and wisely designed like the masterpieces of the great composers.

Every great story has some where in it a villain or a challenge to overcome. In every great work of music there will be found dissonant harmonies, which if removed, would render the piece meaningless and lifeless.

For example, when I first heard the dark forboding first notes in Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto, I thought, “what an ugly chilling piece of music.” Little did I realize the music would swell and blossom into incredibly romantic harmonies and melodies, perhaps among the most beautiful sounds ever composed. And like the story of the ugly duckling becoming a swan, the beauty of the music in the later passages seemed to be all the more wonderful in light of dark opening notes.

Such is the case with the intelligent design of the universe and the appearance of evil and “bad design”. Like Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto, in between the dark dissonant chords, are woven melodies that let the listener know, beautiful sounds will keep pouring in, pointing to a beautiful ending. That is my artistic answer to the problem of bad design, one must hear more notes in the piece, one must see more chapters of the story, and then things will make sense.

What if all we read were the opening pages of “ugly duckling”? It would seem the story is pointless. But in light of how the story finishes, in light of the final teleology, it all makes sense! And such is the role of great works of art, to comfort us and assure us the present light afflictions are only preparing us for a greater glory.

Listen to Rachmaninoff’s Variation 17 of Paganinni. Dark and gloomy. Then, when one least expects, it gives way to Variation 18, the most beautiful melody Rachmaninoff ever wrote: Variation 18.

PS
Here is an exceprt of my favorite Rachmaninoff Prelude, in E-Flat Major:
Prelude in E-Flat Major

PPS
Here is a modernized version of a melody for Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano Concerto by Eric Carmen. Of all things, it was the opening piece of entertainment in my very first visit to Campus Crusade for Christ! All By Myself (from Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto, Adagio Sostenuto).

Or how about the modernized version of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony by Eric Carmen Never Gonna Fall In Love Again

The original 2nd Symphony Melody: Adagio, 2nd Symphony

  6 Responses to “Great works of art, beauty and goodness often blossom where you least expect…”

  1. Speaking of repackaged Classical Music, here is Barry Manilow re-write of a Fredrick Chopin Prelude in C minor: Could it be Magic

  2. All right, how about Willie Nelson playing Johann Sebastian Bach: Willie Nelson Plays Bach

  3. Ok here are the Toys performing Back Lover’s Concerto

  4. Ok here is something for those into merging heavy metal with Massenet. Uli Roth performs Massenet’s Meditation.

    This illustrates the principle of evolutionary convergence. 🙂

  5. Here is heavy metal combined with Baroque:
    Malmsteen performs Albinoni

  6. I don’t understand music like you do, but this is a great analogy.

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